If your GP finds a problem, what next?
If your GP has carried out a PSA test as well as urine checks for blood and infection, they may refer you to a specialist urologist. You may need a prostate biopsy (a tissue sample taken via the rectum using a local anaesthetic), before or after a magnetic resonance scan. You may also need a bone or CT scan or X-rays, depending on your symptoms. “If you are dealing with prostatitis, an infection is usually treated with antibiotics, while bothersome symptoms from an enlarged prostate can be helped with medication. There are also various procedures which can increase the size of the urethra if needed,” Emma adds.
Can prostate problems affect fertility?
There is no evidence to suggest there’s a link between prostatitis and infertility, says Emma, although cancer in the prostate can affect its ability to make semen, which can result in infertility. “However, the vast majority of men with an enlarged prostate and/or prostate cancer tend to be in an older age bracket, so fertility may not be an issue at this stage. Men who would like to have children may be offered the opportunity to freeze their sperm if their recommended course of treatment may cause infertility. At the same time, there isn’t much research to suggest CPPS, the most common prostate problem in your 30s and 40s, affects fertility.”
In the meantime, what can you be doing to support your prostate?
While the peak age for prostate cancer diagnosis is 65 to 69, that doesn’t mean it’s something you can ignore until then. In fact, when it comes to cutting your risk of prostate cancer, you may have more control over your risk than you think. In a recent study which analysed long-term lifestyle data and cancer risk, men practising a healthy lifestyle (i.e. no smoking, moderate drinking/abstinence, BMIs maintained between 18.5 and 27.5, and 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week) reduced their risk of getting any form of cancer by a third.
Roberta Stringer, a naturopathic nutritionist specialising in men’s health, says tweaking your diet can also help. “Certain nutrients are known to have an impact on prostate health due to their effects on testosterone, the main hormone that controls the prostate. Tomatoes, for example, are a rich source of lycopene, an antioxidant which can lower the risk of prostate cancer and its aggression. At the same time, try to eat less animal protein – diets rich in red meat, dairy products and animal fat have been linked with the development of prostate cancer. Red meat should be avoided if possible; instead, eat plenty of plant-based proteins such as beans, flax and nuts, which all have anti-cancer properties.”
For more information, head to Bupa.co.uk and ProstateCancerUK.org. Roberta is also the founder of Dynamic Nutrition Academy, which offers supplements for men designed to support optimal hormone levels.
DISCLAIMER: Features published by SLMan are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.